March 28, 2013
‘Darkspire Reaches’: Critical Book Review
As a formerly not a huge fan of the fantasy genre, I have recently been discovering quite a number of unforgettable literary gems that more and more “recruit” me to love the genre, and ‘Darkspire Reaches’ is one of them—compelling, exquisitely written, totally immersive, it is one of those well-crafted tales that seem more real than our known reality—and of course, much credit to the author C.N. Lesley.
‘Darkspire Reaches’, in broad strokes, is about finding your place in the world no matter what. It is about a girl, Raven, rejected for all the repulsive reasons, and her struggle to flesh out the meaning of her life. For some reason, this faintly reminded me of Jerzy Kosinski’s brutal and controversial book, ‘The Painted Bird,’ but Lesley has a literary cadence all her own that allows the book to stand apart from all the rest.
Unlike most other fantasy tales, ‘Darkspire Reaches’ does not open in some king’s murder or the discovery of a mass grave filled with the bodies of dead babies—or some trick like that to grab you by the cuffs and compel you to sit down for more. Instead, the story starts out in that slow yet familiar way that you’re simply glad to inhabit—it’s like the fantasy version of Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’, where the tension, scene by scene, is slowly, but assuredly built up that merely a few chapters into the novel, you find yourself unable to let go.
Despite this being a suspenseful read, however, Lesley’s words are so rich, so well-crafted, that you don’t want to finish it off so soon—you’d want to nibble the words just to make it last a bit longer. Highly recommended, especially those who have read a lot of fantasy books and are looking for something “deeper.”